93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

Source

SEO Statistics in 2017

If more than 9 out of 10 people are starting with a search engine, why are so many marketers and even businesses challenged by SEO here in the 2nd decade of true search as a marketing engine?

Well, some are not.

You’ve obviously heard of many of the following 8 Internet darlings:

9 Top Internet companies leveraging SEO and SEM

Each of them have millions of dollars of monthly search traffic for free via SEO and a good number of these companies also STILL spend a ton of SEM:

The Top 5 PPC Spenders

Top 5 Adwords/PPC Spenders Monthly

Source

However, many other companies which don’t line the top lists on either the stock market or on the many “top lists” for Internet companies still struggle.

Again, why do companies struggle online with search marketing?

We would propose the following:

A. The Search Engine Results Pages are Evolving SIGNIFICANTLY

In Moz’s new SERP features page, you can see a list of at least 18+ different types of results you’ll find in the SERPs these days.

Top 19 SERP features by Moz

We’ve seen many of these including:

Knowledge Panels

marie curie knowledge panel example

Carousel at the top of SERPs

serp carousel example

or even…

Tweets embedded in the SERP

tweets in the serp

So, you need to be aware and also be optimizing for all these different features.  I spend a ton of time on my automotive clients with their knowledge graphs and the Google products that feed into it constantly.  In the past, I was optimizing JUST the website, but now I have to literally optimize google products themselves to stay ahead.

B. Google is all about Mobile

The headlines are endless:

The list just goes on.

But who shows up at the top of mobile searches?  Let’s see with our handy new Blisk browser which helps us see BOTH the desktop and mobile experiences.

Searching “flights to vegas”:

mobile and desktop serps

  • in the mobile experience, it’s all about Google’s Travel feature (which wasn’t even listed above in Moz’s SERP features page)
  • even in the desktop version, you can’t even see any organic results above the fold

So, what is one to do in these situations?

C. It’s MUCH more about CRO (conversion rate optimization)

So, instead of just focusing on the first (search) visit, you need to watch the consumer revisit and visit again.  Remember, “search marketing” is a research pattern in many cases.

Even though:

“According to retailers, most customers, about 82 percent, conduct research online”

source

Just because you get their first eyeballs, it doesn’t mean you get their last.  Understanding the consumer and also working at all the behaviors and also testing a ton with tools like Google Optimize, you might be able to figure out more about the final conversion, but through a bit of studying.

According to Hubspot’s 2016 State of Inbound report:

the majority (66 percent) of marketers surveyed said that, for inbound marketing projects specifically, “growing SEO [and] organic presence” was their top priority. But even though most marketers recognize the value of search engine optimization for their businesses, the practice remains a struggle: for 65 percent of marketers, generating traffic and leads is the top-cited challenge.

Some final “search marketing direct & real impact to business” stats:

  • For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them. (Econsultancy, 2016)
  • 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. (Retailing Today, 2014)
  • 44% of people go directly to Amazon to start their product searches, compared to 34% who use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for products. (Marketing Land, 2015)
  • Mobile commerce makes up 30% of all U.S. ecommerce. (Internet Retailer, 2015)
  • 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles. (WordStream, 2016)
  • 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. (Google, 2016)
  • Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day. (Google, 2014)
  • 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. (Search Engine Land, 2014)
  • 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone. (Google, 2015)
  • B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. (Google, 2014)
  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
  • By spending as little as six hours per week, 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media. (Social Media Examiner, 2015)
  • Nearly 80% of companies not meeting their revenue goals attract 10,000 monthly website visitors or less. For those exceeding their revenue goals, 70% report attracting more than 10,000 visitors per month. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • The less companies know about their KPIs, the less likely they are to meet their revenue goals. 74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • 64.6% of people click on Google ads when they are looking to buy an item online. (WordStream, 2016)
  • 51% of people have a lower opinion of brands that use autoplaying video ads. (HubSpot, 2016)
  • Ranking #1 in Google has a 23.5% mobile clickthrough rate, down from 28.6% in 2015 – Advanced Web Ranking (2017)
  • Users are 5x more likely to leave a site that is not mobile friendly – Google Small Business (2016)
  • 78% of consumers made a purchase on their mobile device in 2016 – The Financial Brand (2017)
  • Mobile makes up 21% of online spending – comScore (2017)

Mobile Commerce Share of Total Ecommerce Spend (2017)